The 2013 Alumni Hall of Fame at New Mexico Military Institute announced its newest members during an induction ceremony held on Friday. The newest members are, from left: Rick Galles, Harold Barr (Skip) Palmer, Charles Coll, Jim Geibel and Brig. Gen. (Retired) Kurt S. Story. (Mark Wilson Photo)
New Mexico Military Institute inducted five alumni into the Institute’s Hall of Fame Friday.
The induction ceremony took place as part of the Institute’s week of homecoming activities.
Honorees included Brig. Gen. (Ret) Kurt S. Story; analyst for the U.S. Government Accountability Office Jim Geibel; disabled veteran advocate Harold Barr “Skip” Palmer; car salesman and race car driver Rick Galles; and former NMMI regent Charles H. (Chuck) Coll.
Coll received the George E. Ward Memorial Award. The award is given selectively and does not necessarily have a recipient each year. Recipients are automatically inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“It really focuses on a tremendous amount of selfless service, especially to the schools and the corps of cadets,” Lt. Col. Jim Lowe, director of alumni relations for NMMI, said of the award.
Regular inductees are nominated by alumni and selected by current members of the Hall of Fame. Flag officers, or high ranking officers, are automatically inducted upon retirement.
The Ward Memorial Award has been granted 44 times since its 1968 inception. It was created in honor of Class of 1954 NMMI alumnus George E. Ward, who was a prominent lawyer in Roswell.
Ward Memorial awardees are selected by a separate committee of alumni, which also includes current Hall of Fame members.
Institute spokesman Carl Hansen said honorees at the annual event share the quality of humility.
“It’s all about being honored by their peers and it doesn’t matter what the honor is,” he said.
In acceptance speeches, inductees told the crowd of cadets, alumni and family members about the influence NMMI has had on their lives. The honorees rarely mentioned themselves or their life’s work.
“There are things we learned here … that stay with you your entire life,” said Coll.
Palmer, a Vietnam War veteran, spoke about visiting the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., and recognizing the names of fallen NMMI alumni.
“It’s to them who I owe an awful lot,” he said.
According to Lowe, the Hall of Fame has roughly 300 members.